Outstanding Female Dancer 2013

Yen Han © BAK/Gregory Batardon

Yen Han

Outstanding Female Dancer 2013

US-Chinese Yen Han, born in 1973, has been a member of the Ballet Zurich, Switzerland’s largest professional ballet company, since 1994. She studied under Stefan Mucsi and Paul Maure in Los Angeles, at the Hartford Ballet School in Connecticut and at the San Francisco Ballet School before completing her training at the Beijing Dance Academy. In 1991, she was a semi-finalist at the Prix de Lausanne. Her first professional work followed with the Jeune Ballet de France and the Ballet de l’Opéra de Nice. Yen Han is the only soloist in Zurich to have danced under three ballet directors: firstly Bernd Roger Bienert, then Heinz Spoerli for 16 years from the 1996/97 season and Christian Spuck since the 2012/13 season. She won the Friends of Ballet Zurich dance prize in June 2013.


Yen Han has shone in countless roles covering the whole of the classical repertoire, including Spoerli’s “The Firebird”, “The Nutcracker”, “La fille mal gardée”, “The Rite of Spring” and “Giselle”, as well as modern creations such as “moZART”. Heinz Spoerli said this about her in a 2009 interview with Tages-Anzeiger: “Yen Han is an incredible dancer. She is never the same twice.” She has performed as a soloist in many works by such renowned choreographers as Hans van Manen, William Forsythe and Jiří Kylián, most recently wowing audiences and critics alike with her role as Aurora in Mats Ek’s “Sleeping Beauty”. She also teaches at her own ballet school in Zurich. 


“Yen Han is one of Switzerland’s best-known female dancers. Her successful career has been a constant stream of outstanding performances in both classical and contemporary dance. Her virtuosity, coupled with a fantastic versatility in the interpretation of a wide range of roles, makes Yen Han a truly exceptional dancer and an extraordinary artist.” 

Brigitta Luisa Merki, Member of the Jury